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Transform to innovative thinking

Blog: Capgemini CTO Blog

Immune system

Transforming an organization into an innovative, thinking one is very complex. If you start innovating, you activate the immune system of the existing organization. This creates antibodies that kill innovation. This is why a lot of innovation usually takes place on the fringes, using methods like Lean Startup and Design Thinking to move from process-oriented to people- (need-) oriented thinking. Often these innovation teams report directly to a chairman and with long-term backing from that chairman. Reporting on learning and progress KPIs unbound from internal politics – that is what works.

Massive transformative purpose

To get this transformation going, you have to understand the purpose of the organization – “the Massive Transformative Purpose.” In other words, how do you improve the world? A good example is Patagonia. Patagonia’s Mission Statement is: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” Such purposes create a pull effect, which attracts the best people to come and work for you. Therefore, you need to move from manage (push) to mobilize (pull). If you can create this pull, people will want to connect to you emotionally. This is important and sustainable. People will be intrinsically motivated to work for you, becoming more committed and less likely to move to the next employer.

“Rationality creates conclusions; emotion creates commitment, willingness, and change.”

Short feedback cycles

In addition to your purpose, you should also review your internal processes. Move from year-end reviews to OKRs (objectives and key results). Everyone sets their own objective for the coming week in full openness and transparency with the whole company. This is how things work at Google, Intel, LinkedIn, etc. This leads to more team building and less politics – to more learning, more motivation, and earlier correction of errors. Move from long feedback loops to short feedback loops within your organization and to your clients. You can use Design Thinking and Lean Startup methods for this. They came into existence to do short-cycle development: today an idea, tomorrow testing the idea with your (possible) customer/end consumer. Real clients!

Cost of experiment

Thanks to the short-cycle way of working (iterations), the cost of experimentation is lower than the cost of planning. With this mechanism, GE reduced costs and time with 50% to 75% by using Design Thinking and Lean Startup, compared to the old way of innovation development methodologies. The half-life time of knowledge is reduced from 30 years to five years. In IT it even became two years. For example, in IT, when you do not improve yourself in four years, you are out – a bit exaggerated but it does happen.
Feel free to reach out to us for more information or to arrange a workshop for applying innovation and short cycle methodologies at your company.

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